Tunnel opponents submit signatures

UPDATE 3/30:  Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has asked a judge to rule on whether the city’s agreements with the state on the deep-bore tunnel designed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct are subject to referendum. 

In a media release today Holmes said:  “As City Attorney, I don’t vote on or veto ordinances, and I am personally neutral regarding the ultimate choice for replacing the viaduct. My obligations as City Attorney are to ensure that the City complies with the law and to look out for the best interests of Seattle and its citizens. To that end, I have filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment in King County Superior Court to determine whether Ordinance No. 123542 is subject to Seattle’s municipal referendum power.”

Supporters of an anti-tunnel referendum submitted 28,928 signatures to the Seattle City Clerk’s office Tuesday morning, trying to ensure the measure advances to a public vote.  One of the leaders of the effort is Magnolia resident Elizabeth Campbell who heads up the group Seattle Citizens Against the Tunnel.

From our news partners at the Seattle TimesThe referendum needs 16,503 valid signatures to qualify for the Seattle ballot. City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons accepted the referendum petitions at 10 a.m. in her City Hall office.  King County Elections will verify the signatures.  Verification is expected to take at least two weeks. Meanwhile, the ordinance it is designed to put to a vote — involving agreements between the city and state to proceed on the deep-bore tunnel — is scheduled to take effect Wednesday.  That means legal action to block the referendum could come as early as Tuesday.

Women, Wine and Wellness Night

The Discovery Wellness Center is inviting women to learn about healthy lifestyles on Friday (4/1) from 6-8:30p.m. at 3655 34th Ave West.  The Women, Wine, & Wellness Night will feature local providers with a focus on healthy lifestyles including Village Yoga, Triune Pilates,  Xocai Healthy Chocolate,  Zumba by “Rock This Sway” and Wheeler Street Café.  You can purchase two tickets for $10.  There is also a raffle drawing for a weekend retreat to Salish Lodge & Spa.  All proceeds will be donated to a local women’s shelter.  More information here.

Airspace Party Wednesday

A reminder that the Magnolia Airspace Celebration is set for tomorrow (3/30) from  6:30 – 8:30 pm at Mulleady’s Irish Pub.  The Magnolia Community Club is throwing the party to honor the people who fought the changes in airspace over Magnolia. 

Tickets are $10 per person and all proceeds after food and beverage costs will be donated to Northwest Harvest.  There is still time to grab a ticket, click here for details. 

Lawton’s Field of Dreams auction

Team Lawton made a big showing at Safeco Field for the PTA’s Field of Dreams auction.  Families, staff and friends of Lawton hit one out of the park and helped the PTA double their revenue projections.  Auction items included a private party at Dale Chihuly’s boathouse, a trip to Chile (won by Lawton’s principal Christine Helm) and a spirited bid-off for Mrs. Dowd’s class auction project featuring the children’s art in the style of Picasso.  

The evening ended with auctioneer Ian Lindsey putting  "the shirt off his back" up for auction and since 4th grade teacher Mrs. Misner was the highest bidder, she became Lawton’s #1 Fan. 

The school sends a special thanks to the Field of Dreams auction committee who worked to pull off the event.  The Lawton PTA funds enrichment programs at the school along with funding for school support such as playground supervision, tutoring, volunteer coordination and classroom grants to teachers.

Thanks to Kimball Mullins for the photos!

Three cars stolen in Magnolia last week

Just got this note from Terrie Johnston in Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention.  She reviews the police incident reports on a daily basis and she noticed an alarming trend in our area:

Today upon reviewing the reported crime for Queen Anne and Magnolia, I noticed that in the past 7 days there were three vehicles stolen from Magnolia (Volvo SW; Toyota Highlander and an Acura Integra) and 4 vehicles stolen from Queen Anne (2 Subaru Legacys; KIA Rio; and a BMW).  This is in addition to a theft of a license plate on Queen Anne, and several car prowls.  I found that number of incidents to be abnormally high.  I phoned the Auto Theft Sergeant and he said  the number of Auto Thefts in Seattle are down, and have been decreasing steadily.  In fact, we are at nearly 1/3 of the number of Auto Thefts which occurred in 2005.  However, we agreed that there are some simple things we can do to try and prevent becoming a victim of auto theft. 

This sergeant reports that he uses a steering wheel locking device on every car he owns, and he uses the device, every time he parks his car.  These devices act as a good visual deterrent.  They are just one more thing the thief has to disable in an attempt to steal the vehicle. There are also a variety of locking metal devices that can disable everything from your gearshift, gas pedal, brake pedal, hood, tires, etc. 

Johnston also has these suggestions:

  • If you have a garage, use it.  Keep the garage and any other doors leading into the garage locked, and keep car doors locked inside the garage.
  • Since more than 2/3 of all auto thefts occur at night, consider installing motion-sensitive lighting around car ports,  driveways, parking spots on alleyways.   Leave your front porch lights on from dusk until dawn.  

Johnston says that cars are often stolen for parts and it can take an expert thief as little as seven seconds and one screwdriver to break into a vehicle, and less than one minute to drive away.  She encourages neighbors to watch for anyone in your area who is looking into vehicles or checking door handles to see if they are locked. If you see suspicious activity, call 911.

Seattle Met Magazine: Magnolia is best place to live

The Seattle Met Magazine is out with its list of the Top 20 Places to Live and Magnolia is on the list.  No big surprise to those of us who live here but still nice to be recognized.

Here is what they had to say:  “It’s hard to think of Magnolia as a best-kept secret, what with its name recognition, proximity to downtown, and stately homes. But that’s just how its residents think of it—and they like it that way. “It keeps us from being overrun,” says Julie Szmania, co-owner of the eponymous eatery in Magnolia Village.

Magnolians have watched fickle Seattleites hop from one hot neighborhood to another while their own little corner of the city has remained relatively unchanged. And that steady-as-she-goes status has helped the community built on wide streets and anchored by Discovery Park maintain a close-knit, family-friendly feel. Some even jokingly call it Mayberry R.F.D. “I wouldn’t quite go that far,” says Loree Schoonover, editor of the Magnolia Voice blog. “But it really is a charming small-town atmosphere five minutes from the city.”

The only drawback to all that quiet: It’s almost lulled portions of the commercial core—located on West McGraw Street—to sleep. Stubborn landlords are reluctant to pony up development dough to improve vacant storefronts, and skittish entrepreneurs won’t set up shop in the isolated enclave. The lack of retail action peeves people like Szmania, but not enough to sour them on Magnolia. “We may not be the most exciting neighborhood in town,” she says, “but we have great views, big yards, and it’s safe.”

Thanks to Seattle Met for the Magnolia Voice shout out.  You can check out the list of the other top neighborhoods here.

Little leaguers on parade

The annual Magnolia Little League Parade kicked off the season on Saturday.


Teams gathered to strut their stuff for the crowd down McGraw Street and onto the fields next to Mounger Pool. 

The Mariner Moose entertained the cheering crowd as each team strolled though the village.

These girls look ready for the season.

The parade was emceed by Magnolia resident and KOMO TV anchor Eric Johnson.

A crowd of more than 600 gathered at the jamboree.  Magnolia LIttle League is made up of of T-ball, Single A, Double A and Triple A teams.

Play ball!   Special thanks to Kym N for these photos!

Blown transformer sparks Magnolia townhouse fire

Update 6:35 p.m. Seattle Fire confirms what we observed at the scene — the fire was caused by a blown transformer, which dropped a live wire against the side of the building. The wire hooked a metal box, which you can see in the far right of this photo, taken at 32nd Ave. and Lynn St.:

Update 6:25 p.m. We spoke to the couple who rents the unit that caught fire. “The transformer blew up over there,” said Joe, who lives in the four-story corner unit. He said he heard another explosion moments later, but there was no signs of fire. “I didn’t think anything of it,” he said, until he saw smoke coming out of the vents a few minutes later.

“All of a sudden, smoke starting coming up quick, and then the alarms went off,” he said. “Then I heard someone screaming, everyone evacuate, so we grabbed our dogs and got out pretty quick.”

Fortunately, everyone was able to escape safely.

“It was such an explosion, I mean the lights, it was beyond description,” said Joan, another resident in the building. “There were two of them. And then it sounded like something was being dragged. I thought someone had hit it.”

Update 6:15 p.m. Here’s a video we shot shortly after firefighters arrived:

UPDATE 5:45:  We are told that power is now back on in the area around the fire.

UPDATE 5:20PM:  Here is the latest from the scene.  People living in the area heard a couple of loud booms that originated on the east side of the building.  We are told that many people living in the area heard them too. 

The residents who rent the unit say that a few minutes after the booms they saw smoke coming out of the vents in their townhome.  The husband and wife and their two dogs evacuated.  They were not injured but one of their dogs has a preexisting medical condition and is at the vet. 

The fire was caused by a transformer explosion. City Light is checking all poles in the area.  Wires that came down as a result of the explosion hooked on the side of the building.  No word on why the transformer blew.

The fire was tough to fight because it was in the wall of the townhomes.  Firefighters brought out saws and ladders to battle the blaze.

UPDATE 5:10pm:  We are told that power is out in parts of the Magnolia Village as a result of the fire.  Will have more information soon.  Thanks to Steven Smalley for the photos from the scene.

UPDATE 5pm:  There is very little smoke now as firefighters get the upper hand on this fire.  It may have been caused by a blown transformer.  No injuries have been reported.

Firefighters continue to work on the fire at the townhomes in the Magnolia Village.  They say the fire was within a wall inside one of the units.

Smoke from this afternoon’s fire can be seen from in this shot by reader kkennell.  We have crews on the scene and we will keep updating.

Updated: 4:45 Seattle Fire is responding to a fire at 3201 W. Lynn Street, near the Village.

These are brand new townhouses. Smoke is billowing from one of the units, which a woman on the scene says she’s renting. She tells us that a transformer blew just before the fire and she believes this has to do with electrical. There are wires down on the east side of the building and are up against the side of the building.

Seattle City Light is on scene. The call out was just after 4 p.m. to 2209 32nd Ave W, but the address was corrected once on scene. We’re on scene and will have more soon.

Toy and clothing sale on Saturday

Magnolia Cooperative Preschool’s annual toy and clothing sale is this Saturday (3/26) starting at 9a.m. at the United Church of Christ at 3555 West McGraw Street. 

This is a big and busy sale so get there early for the best selection.  You will find lots of  gently used baby and children’s clothes (baby-10 years, sorted by gender and sizes), toys, games, books, décor and general baby/kid gear, including large baby items like strollers, highchairs and car seats.

Most items go for half-price at 1:30 pm.

Because this sale gets so busy, organizers ask shoppers to leave young children at home.

Magnolia Little League parade Saturday

The Magnolia Little League parade is set for this Saturday starting at 1oa.m.  This annual event kicks off the season for young baseball and softball players.

The parade will come down McGraw Street and head around on 32nd Ave West before ending on the fields for opening ceremonies.

DSC_1901 by guava_sorbet.

McGraw Street will be closed during the parade.